The Fresno Grizzlies have perhaps the most feared lineup in the Minors, and if you had any doubts about that, you needn't look much further than the Astros Triple-A affiliate's box score Tuesday afternoon.
Astros No. 3 prospect Domingo Santana went deep twice and No. 3 overall prospect Carlos Correa launched his first Triple-A blast as the Grizzlies homered six times in a 12-2 win over El Paso at Southwest University Park.
The day might be notable for Correa's milestone homer, but in terms of game impact, it was Santana who stole the show Tuesday. The two-homer game was his third of the season and pushed his 2015 total to 10 through 37 games.
With his two-run shot off Chihuahuas southpaw starter Robbie Erlin in the first inning, the 22-year-old right-handed outfielder extended his hitting streak to 15 games, the longest active streak in the Pacific Coast League. Following his 2-for-5 showing Tuesday, Santana is 22-for-56 (.393) with three homers, 11 RBIs, 12 walks and 16 strikeouts during that hitting streak. To put that into context, he had a .267/.360/.640 line on May 4 when the streak started; it's now up to .321/.422/.649 following Tuesday's performance.
With Santana, who struck out in 14 of his 17 at-bats in the Majors a season ago, there is always the fear that K's will hurt him. But after seeing the slugger slump in April, the Grizzlies told him to open things again a few weeks ago. Now, the results are returning for MLB.com's No. 67 overall prospect.
"We put a lot of priority on swinging at good pitches and not chasing, and [getting] walks and make the pitcher work the count and all that stuff, so he was being too fine and too tentative," Fresno hitting coach Leon Roberts told MiLB.com on May 3 after Santana's second two-homer game of the season. "I said, 'Let's be a little more aggressive and swing the bat.' And the rest he took upon himself."
Correa's first homer in a Fresno uniform came in the sixth inning off Erlin -- a two-run shot to right center to give the Grizzlies a 9-2 advantage.
Through eight games in the PCL, the multi-talented 20-year-old shortstop has a .316/.357/.500 line with the homer, four doubles, four RBIs and a stolen base. Going back to his time with Double-A Corpus Christi, he has a Minor League line of .368/.434/.671 with eight homers and 36 RBIs in 37 games this season.
"He comes to the ballpark ready to play every day," Fresno manager Tony DeFrancesco told MiLB.com. "He wants to continue to learn, but he's very mature for his age. Nothing's going to rattle him right now. I think he sees the big picture and, eventually, he's going to get the opportunity to be a great player in the Major Leagues."
The other Fresno sluggers to collect homers Tuesday were Robbie Grossman, L.J. Hoes and Matt Dominguez. The typically light-hitting Dominguez, in particular, had a big day, going 5-for-5 and falling just a triple shy of the cycle. With the performance, the 25-year-old third baseman raised his PCL average from .195 to .228.